Every other person you meet today seems to be obsessed with taking selfies. However, new research now suggests that taking too many selfies could be bad for a teenager’s health. Selfies has become the bane of every parent’s existence today as their teen often keeps all work at bay in order to take a selfie. Hours spent on social media deciding which selfie is to be posted often leads to a selfie obsession that may point to deeper issues in the future. Let’s take a look at what science has to say about how taking selfies can cause harm to your teenager’s health.
Taking Too Many Selfies Can Be Bad For A Teenager’s Health
A new study that has been published in The Journal of Early Adolescence has shown that teenagers who are more prone to posting selfies online are more likely to have a higher awareness about their own appearance, leading to a higher risk of developing a negative perception about their bodies.
The research was headed by Dr. Nancy S. Molitor from the Northwestern University in Illinois, United States. According to her research, the posting of selfies constantly on social media platforms leads to a higher need for validation of their physical appearance. This makes these teenagers become predisposed to developing a negative self-image even before they actually share the selfies.
While there are no effects found on kids who are moderate users of social media, the harmful effects of taking selfies are seen to affect the children who are heavily using social media platforms for posting their selfies. Apart from developing a negative body image, teenagers are also likely to become prone to other vulnerabilities. Researchers are trying to find out more about these vulnerabilities.
Obsession with Looking Perfect
As compared to boys, it has been found that teenage girls are extremely worried and conscious about how they are looking online and what people perceive about them from their social media profiles. A research study done in 2015 by Common Sense Media found that nearly 35 percent of girls experience anxiety about how they are looking in their photos and also about being tagged by others in photos of themselves where they are looking less than perfect. The study also found that 27 percent of teenage girls worry about how they are looking in the selfies they have posted online. Furthermore, 22 percent of the participants feel terrible about themselves if their photos get ignored or they do not get the desired number of ‘likes’ and comments on the photo they have posted.
This is where a negative body image begins to form. Parents, particularly, need to be aware of this link between developing a negative body image based on their teenager’s selfies. This is said to be an early indicator of the teenager developing other issues at a later stage. With passing time, a negative body image is likely to increase the rate of anxiety, depression, and even suicide among teenagers.
This is why it is important for parents to watch out for a sudden influx of selfies their son/daughter are sharing on social media platforms, as this is likely to be the first sign that their teenager is experiencing a negative body image and this is the time they need the most encouragement to break through this thought process.
The period of being a teenager is a complicated one, to begin with. Teens undergo several types of psychological as well as physical and emotional changes during this period. In a typical situation, some thoughts related to their body image is definitely expected. However, the obsession with taking selfies and then posting the ‘perfect’ picture on social media platforms are known to boost these feelings of self-doubt and negative body image. This is why as parents, one must strive to make their teenager understand the difference between lives being lived on social media versus what matters in real life. Having conversations about body image and the negative impact of social media can help them learn to process their feelings about their own bodies in a healthier manner. Playing a more active role in making teenagers appreciate their bodies and being mindful about the interactions these children are having on social media is the need of the hour for parents of teenagers.